tv [untitled] February 20, 2011 11:30pm-12:00am PST
and i formed a very, very solid idea of where we were from at a very, very early start. and when my dad suddenly died after a heart attack, darnell was the first person that offered my brother a job at his gas station. these are the kinds of stories that need to be told because it is not just about recognizing african-americans, it's about what african-americans have been doing for us as a society for many, many years. so when i have a chance to talk about my life because i'm just new rookie payor, wants to know how am i thinking, where am i coming from, i'm going to tell about these stories that never get told because they're about life. they're about contributions. they're about how we relate to each other and so i am so proud to be up here with malia cohen, who is going to create many,
many new stories to come along with all of san francisco and the other supervisors up here and the oop leaders and al williams and the historical society who are doing very important work to document the contributions so that we can justify why we need to make a special effort to make sure that there is no outmigration, to make sure that there are jobs. to make sure we protect the family structure. because from my heart and where i come from and what my family is all about, i know what it is to be helped by the african-american community. i know that that's been a strong tring and -- thing and we wouldn't have survived without that kind of kep -- help. so i leave you here today to let you know what's in my heart and mind and let's kick off this celebration to unite everybody in this city and be broud -- proud of who we are, and thank you very much. >> thank you, mayor lee. we are about to bring up our
keynote speaker. but i did want to mention we also have with us david campos who's joined us. let's welcome supervisor camp ovements and dr. veronica hunnicutt is here also the so with that we're at the point where we really want to get to the real meat of this thing today, our key note speaker. i mentioned earlier we've had a strong partnership with bring the exhibition we have now with the kinsey collection through the kinsey foundation and no stronger partner could we have had than the san francisco public library under the leadership of luis herrera. luis has been -- let's give luis a -- [applause] luis has been a real up toer in standing with us in doing what's necks -- necessary to make this happen. stuart shaw, ann carroll is
back there. everett, the people in the production department who have helped us. you will see all the hard work they have provideded when you go over to check this exhibit. so without further ado i would like to have luis introduce our keynote speaker. >> thank you, al. what a glorious day it is and happy black history month. i'm honored to introduce our keynote speaker, bernard kinsey. i had the pleasure of meeting bernard had he attended the first meeting with the california council for the humanities and immediately he made quite an impact with not only his creative ideas and vision but also his passion. right then and there i said to myself, my only resfwret that i didn't get to meet him way, when much earlier in our lives.
his biography reads like an adventure with an extraordinary record of accomplishments and achievements. a business entrepreneur it, guru, philanthropist but perhaps most importantly a community builder. as president of kbk enterprises he's provided counsel to senior executives in both public and private sector and he has provided support for example to software companies in the silicon valley, to urban centers like los angeles and large departments like the police department there. as president of this firm and also in addition to his amazing experience with urban revitalization, he has tapped to co-chair, "rebuild l.a.," the revital ilingse -- revitalize apings e founded
after the unrest in l.a. in 199 2. he influenced investments by bringing grocery stores, small businesses, loan funds, all of these in the heart of the inner city. prior to this tenure at r.l.a., mr. kinsey also enjoyed a remarkable 20-year career with the xerox corpts -- corporation, and here he ways trail blazer making sure that he broke down barriers in corporate america. through his leadership in der -- xerox it led to the hireb of literally thousands of women and people of color. bernard is also highly sought after as an international business consultant and has counseled governments all cross the world from south africa, germany, england, france in economic development and he's also a celebrity in his own
right. he's got numerous radio and television programs including the macneil-lehrer rorkts the "nbc nightly news," cnn and national public radio. he's lace family fan. -- also a family man. married to his wife shirley for 44 years, they are one of the most admired and respected couples in l.a. and the proud parents of their son khalil. their partnership represents and alliance based on love, respect, family and friends. and they're also very generous with their success. over the past 20 years they've donate. ed and raised millions of dollars for scholarships for college-bound students, particularly african-american students and students going to their favorite institution, florida a and m university, which bestowed an honorary doctorate to bernard. recently the kinseys have also
become known for the collection of african-american art, boorkss and manuscripts that document the story of the african-american community. it's called the -- called the kinsey collection, shared treasures of bernard and shirley kinsey, where art and history intersect. it's been on tour to six city as -- cities and opened at the national museum of american history at the smithsonian institute and we anticipate more than 2.5 million folks will visit that exhibit. how's that for success? terrific. their wonderful book it that documents the kinsey collection has been selected by the florida department of education for the curriculum to team african-american studies to 3.6 million students throughout the state. so that's also a wonderful accomplishment. it's indeed mip pleasure to
welcome a man to waves a wonderful cultural narrative of a people. please, give a warm welcome to bernard kinsey. bernard? [applause] . >> first of all i want to make sure you can hear me. who has the sound in here? just bring it up a little bit so we can do this. first of all, luis, thank you so much to the san francisco public libraries, stewart, shaw, and carroll. up guys have done a super job. you've got to come down to the san francisco african-american historical society. we have about 50 pieces of the kinsey collection there that documents the frick american experience from 1600 through civil rights. first of all, al, sh
go back to florida. and they knew each other before i knew shirley. we've had this long, what, 50-year relationship and bond. so when al called me about bringing some pieces here to san francisco, we didn't hesitate. i'm going to ask all uven to take, when you go to d.c., on the main floor of the main gearly -- gallery at the american history museum, the most visited museum in the world, there is george washington to the left, the american flag to the middle, and the kiprusoffy collection to the right. and i just want you to know that because you know, luis was trying to tell you who the kinseys are and you know what? you need to know who's speaking to you so sometimes you sit up a little bit better and you listen, but we are very grounded in what we're doing and we've lived in san francisco back in the 1970's. we ran a million square feet
for der -- xerox out of south san francisco. we ran the oakland branch in oakland for three years there where i had 100 black folks working for me in 1977, just so you know. so we got our roots in the right place. we got our hearts in the right place. and it's a joy to be here in san francisco at this beautiful building here in city hall. i want to thank the supervisor cohen and aughtle supervisors, catchose and others that are here. you get a feel ream quickly whether or not a city really gets it if the mayor -- mayor shows up and the supervisors show up you know what i mean? because if they don't show you that tells you something. and it's good to see they're not just showing up but staying. right? am i saying this right? ok. i retired 20 years ago february 1 so i can say basically how and what i want to say, and i
do. you follow me? so i am clear about what we're trying to do. claude eberhart, one of our good friends from the bay area and very important this this community and to san francisco and the east barkse let's give claude a -- bay, let's give claude a big round of applause. you know? i'm going to go right to this. jane lieu ellen johnson would not have liked how we sang this song. this was a brother from jacksonville. he's a brother from florida. he spoke spanish and french. he was an envoy to haiti and nake rag wa. -- nicaragua. you didn't know that, did you?
he also wa the first black man to pass the bar in the state of florida in 1913. can you imagine a brother passing the bar in 1913? and his brother was as bad as he was. that's who james wheldon johnson was. you ever heard of jenny slew? 1719, her smom white. her zad black. you know, even back then a good man was hard to find, you follow me? so we understand this. this thing has been going on for a very, very long time, ok? jenny slew, 46 years later she sues for her freedom and back pay. and guess what? wins because in the state of massachusetts a person of color could sue back in those days. you know what the superior court said? well, we can't let this happen
because you were married to an enslaved person. let me say this right now. we don't use the word "slave." i want everybody to say "enslaved." say it louder. and you know why? because if you start practicing that you will change how you look at our an set ofers ancestors. it will change how you feel in your heart about the accomplishments of our brother ants dub and sisters because you don't have a clue what they have done and sacrificed to get where we are today. so you know what shirley and i have been doing the last five years? we've taken an exhibition and we've gone to seven cities. maybe when it finishes may 1, it will be over thee million people that have seen it. we don't tell the "ain't it awful" story about slavery. we tell how people overcame. when jenny went to court, she
says yes, i was married. she all -- actually was married twice. you follow me? she was married to an enslaved person. she told the judge because in the state of massachusetts you don't recognize enslavepeople as being someone human, then my marriage was nullified. you know what the court said? you're right. they gave her four pounds sams back pay and set her free. right behind her, elizabeth brandwell, who you nonet -- don't know either. she said well, heck, if jenny can do it, i can do it too. and elizabeth said -- said you know what? i'm going to sue for all the plaque folks in the state of massachusetts. this is like in the 1760's. to be free. can you imagine? they said wait a minute, we're going to let you and three others be free but we're not going to free all black folks. but that's an idea of our --
how our people at the early yert point used the ideals of the constitution for their freedom. so let me get -- i'm going to stay on my time. stay on my time. i want you all to know shirley and i will have been married 44 years on monday of next week -- friday of next week, and she's the best part of my day. her birthday is monday so only al williams could get us to come up here on a friday or thursday and do this but we are really appreciative to do this. up need three things for a successful life. i'm going to give you some little jewels here. something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to. think about it. that's it. you need three things for a successful life. something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to mpltd and shirly
fulfills all three and when you get the right partner, you don't have to go nowhere. ok? we live our lives on two simple principles. one, two whom much is given, sch required. and a life of no regrefments and let me say this, the second is harder than the first because live a life of no regrets means you life in the present tense. you have to make decisions while they're coming at you because if not you will say boy, i wish i'd done that differently. so practicing this notion of no recigarettes difficult. we have a saying, god grant me a gift that i need so i can give it to someone else that needs it more. that's a hell of a practice. you hear what i just said? you can't have a blessing with a closed fist. and a lot of us walk around with both our fists closed all the time and think that you're going to get some blessings. in baseball, you get a glove
and you throw the ball back. some of you got two gloves on your hands. you got to take one off. because that's the only way you can share and god does not bless us unless you give to others first. ok? all right. i got our good friend ron brown the commerce secretary who decide -- died suddenly, he had a saying, "leave the door open and the ladder down," and i want to you remember that because far too often we don't help each other. if i have an event and al calls me or he has an event and he calls me up, i might say with, i'll help up a little bit. so next time i need help, i call and he helps a little bit and the effort is a little bit successful. you know what happens particularly in the black
community, in others too, because we don't help each other, we're not doing as well as we can do. that is a problem we all have to take responsibility for. all right. i don't know what i'm doing. i got to get back to it. the greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without purpose and vision. the greatest treasures in the world are not the companies that make up the new york stock exchange or the oil wells of the middle east but the semteries all ofe the world because of the lost potential did you hear what i just said? in the semteries -- semeteries because of lost potential. in other words you didn't do what god put you here to do. like the story of the chicken and eagle. a tiny eagle egg was found by a hen. she took the egg home to the coop and sat on it with all the
love and patience of an incipient mother. a few weeks later the egg was hatched. out stepped a tiny eagle. the tiny bird had eagle history, eagle genes, eagle d.n.a., eagle chromosomes, eagle power, and eagle potential. but because it group -- grew up in chicken surroundings, it grew up thinking it was a chicken. you hear what i just said? it thought it was a chicken. it grew up dreaming chicken dreams and thinking chicken thoughts and entertaining chicken am bigs. am i talking to you? in fact it was even made to feel sthamed of his eagle features. eep though he didn't know who he was, the chickens in the barn yard absolutely now -- knew who he was and they said to each other, boy, we got to keep this little bird thinking that he's a chicken because if
he ever finds out he's an eagle, he'll rule over us. as a result, the little bird became ashamed of his eagle fought -- features and heritage. they made fun of his eagle beak because she had tiny narrow chicken beaks and of his talons because they had weak, scrawny chicken feet. he even became ashamed of his darkness. y'all ain't done none of that, right? and the beauty and rich heritage of his eagle feathers. at one point in his life he even considered cosmetic surgery. he thought about cutting off half his eagle beak and dyeing half his feathers to look more like a chicken. ironically, his greatest ambition in life was one day to hop, skip, and skip on the
fence post and cock-a-doodle-doo like the reast -- rooster. but one day this confused eagle was playing and he looked up jarred -- up ward and saw an eagle in flight. sure enough, this lost bird's mind was blown. he said to himself, in so many words, woirks -- wow, i wish i could fly like that. that adult eagle swoomed down from the stratosphere and said to the confused biffered, boy, you ain't no chicken. you're an eagle. your mighty talents weren't meant to scrape on the ground for cat er pillars. he said boy, you ain't no chicken, you're an eagle. your eagle eye was not meant to be limited to the narrow confines of the barn yard but
to seek out your unfulfilled potential and spread your wings. you ain't no chicken. this is the message to each of us today. i don't care what you've done up to this point in your life. i don't care if you've had chicken parents, attended chicken school, even if you had chicken teachers, chicken assignments and even some of you have some chicken jobs with chicken managers arpped -- and supervisors. don't think chicken thoughts and don't dream chicken dreams. think like an eagle. ok? all right. all right. [applause] wasted time and potential we will never be able to recover the time wasted. i repeat, the greatest tragedy in life is wasted time and wasted potential. even at my age i wake up every day with this notion of discovery, wanting to know more and to do more. that's what this is about.
don't sit on it because if you sit on it, it will go away from you because god will say hey, you ain't using it, i'll give it to somebody else. ok? the wealthiest place on earth really is the cemetery because it's are where all the hopes, dreams, goals, music, arts, inventions, are lost forever. the hardest jobs, listen to me good, the hardest job for a black preacher is to give a eulogy of an irrelevant black child. you hear what i just said? to try and console their families and try to give meaning to a life of no purpose. how many of those eulogies have been said in our community? because we have been wayward. you remember the song "i got plenty of nothing, and plenty of nothing is good for me?" i don't like that song. i like the song "god bless the
child that's got his own" because that's what i got to do. anyone that professes to love this country must know history. we were taught his-story. that george washington cut down the cherry tree and did not tell a lie. nothing could be further from the truth. because if we were taught history we would know about the great and wonderful people called african-americans and how much they gave and sacrificed to build this country and leave a rich legacy of -- to all of us. not just black folks, to everybody. this country was built by africans, yngsdz and americans. we came here in 1619, one year before the mayflower. we did not come here as enslaved people. we came as indentured certify vanlts just like whites did and the people of jamestown were
starving until black folks came there in 1619 and showed them how to grow tobacco. any time y google it, because we're in that age. do you know in 1624 euro and isabella johnson had their first child. it wasn't out of wedlock, they were married. william tucker, 1624. i want you to know that we are just full of myths. we are full of myths and we bought them all and what we have do is to say that we're not going to deal with it. how many -- who told the colonies that the british were coming? no, no, that was the first person killed in 1770 but who rode off and told the british was coming. paul revere. nothing could be further from the truth. ever heard of israel bizle.
he run 346 miles on horse back from boston to philadelphia to warn not just boston, but all of the colonies in that upper area about the parish were coming. in other words, there are stories that made america and there are stories that america made up. you hear what i just said? there are stories that made america and there are stories that america made up and too often the myth becomes the choice and you believe rather than the facts and here's one thing and i'm going to close it here. he give me 15 minutes. i say, how are you going to give me 15 minutes? it takes a day of my time to come up here and give me 15 minutes. but i'm going to take what i need to take. what else are you going to do when you get up here? i'm going to leave you with this and you got to listen to this.
the myth of absent. in american history as in american life, black americans are invisible presence. did you hear what i just said? you got to just listen to that a little bit because it's got to sink in a little bit. they are not seen not because of their absence but because of the presence of a myth that prepares and requires their absence. did you hear what i just said? they are not seen not because of their absence but because of the presence of a myth that prepares and requires their absence. the myth of absence which expresses this idea and intention operates not by misinterpretation and slander but by silence and exclusion. by simply not mentioning certain realities and by removing black actors from scenes in which they played supporting roles, the
manipulation of the myth changes the color of the past and controls the perception and acts in the present and it's no accident that the dominant images of popular history are white. do you follow me? if you think about the myth of absence, if you look in all, every aspect of history, or even if you go to a place that you see nobody of color -- i went into an insurance company two days ago and the pictures on the wall was from 1937 and 1951. there was not a black face, there was not a woman and there was not a latino in the picture. that's the myth of absence. and if you see it long enough, you will believe that that is how it's supposed to be and for many of us, we've swallowed the pill, o.k.? we've swallowed the pill and i'm going to close right there, i got one poem and i'm going to get off of here so al can get
his program back. me and this boy go back 100 years so we can talk like this, you understand. all right, here we go, do it anyway. people really are unreasonable, illogical and self centered, love them anyway. if you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives, do good anyway. if you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies but succeed anyway. the good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow but let's do good today anyway. honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable but let's be honest and frank anyway. the biggest ideas with the can be shot down by the smallest of minds. what you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. let'ep